A resolution to one of the many disputes over the role of guards on trains appears to be in sight after the RMT union and Merseyrail reached an ‘understanding’.
The union and the rail operator, which has a 25-year concession agreement with regional transport authority Merseytravel, have been in dispute since Merseyrail announced that it was buying new trains (pictured) that are capable of operating without guards.
Although the rail operator has not agreed to the union’s demand to have ‘a second safety critical person on every train’, it appears to have agreed to work towards this in further talks.
In a joint statement, the two sides said: ‘Following twelve hours of constructive talks held under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas, Merseyrail have acknowledged RMT’s clear position that the only way that this industrial dispute will be resolved is by having a second safety critical person on every train.
‘Based on this, both parties have agreed to work together to identify, explore and assess a range of options to determine their affordability and value for money.’
‘Merseyrail and RMT have agreed to re-convene talks with Acas within the next seven days and that while these talks continue, they will remain confidential as part of the process.’
Andy Heath, managing director at Merseyrail' said: ‘I am pleased at the positive progress that has been made in the discussions with the RMT with the aim of resolving the current industrial dispute. We have jointly agreed a statement with the RMT through ACAS which outlines the current position and we look forward to further talks over the next few weeks.’